France

IN A NUTSHELL...

When asked to summarise France and wine “Spiritual Birthplace of Wine” springs to mind. Beyond this though how on earth do you sum up?

In many ways France is in something of a difficult position when it comes to wine. On the one hand it’s not always easy to appreciate or accessible in terms of price. On the other hand though if properly understood it is often the most rewarding and there are many great French wines to be found at very accessible prices. So, with this in mind and also considering the fact that France is the second largest wine producing country in the world (Italy being number one producer) this is a great opportunity for us to start to demystify for you the fascinating world of French wines.

With such a temperate and varied climate and landscape, France can supply wines in virtually every style. When it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot many believe Bordeaux sets the standard. As for the millions of Chardonnay vines planted throughout the world Burgundy probably has a great deal to answer for and the same is probably true for the Pinot Noir varietal. Champagne in the north east undoubtedly provides the model for most bottles of fizz produced. Then of course you have the Loire Valley best known for its whites in all degrees of sweetness and fizziness. Moving further south you have the Rhone where you will find deep rich reds which are growing in prestige and small areas producing some top quality whites. Languedoc-Roussillon is of all the wine producing regions the biggest and yet when you consider it has around ninety different classified areas very little is actually known about. What it lacks in prestige though it makes up for in aspiration. Last but by no means least is Alsace, a winemaking region often overlooked and yet a region which has been producing beautifully aromatic Rieslings and Gewurztraminer for years. When it comes to the classification system for Alsace though be prepared to have your mind blown it is not the easiest of systems to get your head around.

So what soon becomes apparent is that one of the keys to understanding French wines is to first acquire some knowledge about the region and the diversities within each region in terms of climate geography landscape and soils. Once we have got our heads around this a bit more then we can start to  tackle the classifications within these very individual regions.

What we have done for you is we have covered many of the key wine regions in depth in the 'All about wine - Key Regions' page so why not go have a look. Or click on the individual key regions below... enjoy!

Key wine regions

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